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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Scranos, a new rootkit malware, steals passwords and pushes YouTube clicks

Security researchers have discovered an unusual new malware that steals user passwords and account payment methods stored in a victim’s browser — and also silently pushes up YouTube subscribers and revenue.

The malware, Scranos, infects with rootkit capabilities, burying deep into vulnerable Windows computers to gain persistent access — even after the computer restarts. Scranos only emerged in recent months, according to Bitdefender with new research out Tuesday, but the number of its infections has rocketed in the months since it was first identified in November.

“The motivations are strictly commercial,” said Bogdan Botezatu, director of threat research and reporting at Bitdefender, in an email. “They seem to be interested in spreading the botnet to consolidate the business by infecting as many devices as possible to perform advertising abuse and to use it as a distribution platform for third party malware,” he said.

Bitdefender found the malware spreading through trojanized downloads that masquerade as real apps, like video players and e-book readers. The rogue apps are digitally signed — likely from a fraudulently generated certificate — to prevent getting blocked by the computer. “By using this approach, the hackers are more likely to infect targets,” said Botezatu. Once installed, the rootkit takes hold to maintain its presence and phones home to its command and control server to download additional malicious components. The second-stage droppers inject custom code libraries in common browsers — Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Baidu, and Yandex to name a few — to target Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, and Airbnb accounts, gathering data to send back to the malware operator.

“The motivations are strictly commercial… they are looking at advertising fraud by consuming ads on their publisher channels invisibly in order to pocket the profit.” Bitdefender’s Bogdan Botezatu

Chief among those is the YouTube component, said Bitdefender. The malware opens Chrome in debugging mode and, with the payload, hides the browser window on the desktop and taskbar. The browser is tricked into opening a YouTube videos in the background, mutes it, subscribes to a channel specified by the command and control server and click ads.

The malware “aggressively” promoted four YouTube videos on different channels, the researchers found, turning victim computers into a de facto clickfarm to generate video revenue.

“They are looking at advertising fraud by consuming ads on their publisher channels invisibly in order to pocket the profit,” said Botezatu. “They are growing accounts that they have been paid to grow and helping inflate an audience so they can grow specific ‘influencer’ accounts.”

Another downloadable component allows the malware to spam a victim’s Facebook friend requests with phishing messages. By siphoning off a user’s session cookie, it sends a malicious link to an Android adware app over a chat message.

“If the user is logged into a Facebook account, it impersonates the user and extracts data from the account by visiting certain web pages from the user’s computer, to avoid arousing suspicion by triggering an unknown device alert,” reads the report. “It can extract the number of friends, and whether the user administrates any pages or has payment information in the account.” The malware also tries to steal Instagram session cookies and the number of followers the user has.

Other malicious components allow the malware to steal data from Steam accounts, inject adware to Internet Explorer, run rogue Chrome extensions, and collect and upload a user’s browsing history.

“This is an extremely sophisticated threat that took a lot of time and effort to set up,” said Botezatu. The researchers believe the botnet has tens of thousands of devices ensnared already — at least.

“Rootkit-based malware shows an unusual level of sophistication and dedication,” he said.


Source: TechCrunch

Logitech Harmony Express builds in Alexa to simplify TV systems for $250 – CNET

My family and I spent the last week talking (and listening) to the latest Harmony universal clicker. Here’s what we learned.
Source: CNET

Microsoft accelerates goals for reducing carbon footprint – CNET

Software giant will nearly double the internal tax it charges its business divisions on all carbon emissions.
Source: CNET

Sony launches its own taxi-hailer app, S.Ride – CNET

It’s only in Japan for now.
Source: CNET

Netflix and Mark Millar team up for Space Bandits comic – CNET

A new female led comic coming from the creator of Kick Ass.
Source: CNET

Billionaire François-Henri Pinault just pledged more than 100 million euros to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral

The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has been saved after fire broke out in the early hours of Monday evening, but not before extensive damage was inflicted on the 856-year-old building, with much of its roof collapsing into itself, along with its main spire.

The fire had blazed for eight hours before firefighters were able to largely contain it, including saving its two iconic rectangular towers and many of its precious relics, including the Crown of Thorns, said to have been worn by Jesus Christ before the crucifixion. Still, as French President Emmanual Macron said outside the cathedral once the fire was nearly extinguished, “The worst has been avoided, but the battle isn’t fully won yet.” Macron continued on to say that France planned to start an international fundraising campaign to raise money for the renovations.

He may have a major head start on that campaign, thanks to billionaire François-Henri Pinault, who has already pledged more than 100 million euros to rebuild the cathedral. According to the AFP, Pinault said in a statement that he plans to provide the money through his family’s investment firm, Artemis — funding that he hopes will help church officials “completely rebuild Notre Dame.”

Pinault owns the French luxury group Kering, which oversees the luxury fashion brands Gucci and Saint Laurent, among others. Lesser known is that he’s a bit of a geek, or was once.

Pinault talked with TechCrunch years ago about his early love of computer science and about having interned at Hewlett Packard as a software developer. At the time, he also said he helped start Soft Computing, a company that was founded in Paris in 1984 by fellow students of Pinault, Eric Fischmeister and Gilles Venturi. They later took the company public and, last December, sold a majority stake in the business to ad giant Publicis.

An active philanthropist, Pinault has seemingly steered around much of the startup world since, unlike others of the world’s richest individuals. His few known startup investments include an early check to the online shopping platform Fancy. More recently, he helped provide funding to Muzik, an L.A.-based maker of so-called smart headphones that raised $70 million from investors last May.


Source: TechCrunch

Julian Assange isn't the best skateboarder, embassy footage reveals – CNET

The Wikileaks founder spent at least part of his time in the Ecuadorian embassy in London learning new moves but footage shows he has a long way to go.
Source: CNET

Game of Thrones fever reaches Mars – CNET

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter camera team spots a House Stark symbol on the Red Planet.
Source: CNET

All Avengers: Endgame trailers and posters — 'Who hasn't been to space?' – CNET

The remaining Avengers have no room for error in their plan to take down Thanos. See all Endgame movie footage and posters so far.
Source: CNET

Twitter left up tweets threatening Rep. Ilhan Omar's life to aid police probe – CNET

Threats against the Muslim congresswoman have increased since a Trump tweet last week.
Source: CNET

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